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Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Economy, Politics, Society | 0 comments

Between a rock and a hard place

What do you do when your base wants to cut the budget but really doesn’t want to cut anything?  That is the problem faced by the Republicans.  As I have said before if you are serious about balancing the budget you have to either slash defense spending and Medicare or raise taxes.  Now the base won’t stand for either and the military industrial complex will fight defense cuts and the medical industrial complex will fight Medicare cuts and everyone will oppose tax increases.  The headline reads:

Tea Party Shows Its Muscle as G.O.P. Seeks More Savings

WASHINGTON – House Republican leaders said on Thursday that they would accede to demands from conservatives and dig deeper into the federal budget for billions of dollars in additional savings this year, exhibiting the power of the Tea Party movement and increasing chances of a major fiscal clash with Democrats.

In response to complaints from rank-and-file Republicans that the party was not fulfilling a campaign promise to roll back domestic spending this year by $100 billion, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said his panel would abandon its initial plan and draw up a new one to slice spending more aggressively.

Of course 100 billion dollars is petty cash when it come to the federal budget. It is less than we are spending in Afghanistan every year.

But another poll today shows the real problem the Republicans face is that few actually want to cut anything that really matters.

Fewer Want Spending to Grow, But Most Cuts Remain Unpopular

The public’s views about federal spending are beginning to change. Across a range of federal programs, Americans are no longer calling for increased spending, as they have for many years. For the most part, however, there is not a great deal of support for cutting spending, though in a few cases support for reductions has grown noticeably. The survey also shows that the public is reluctant to cut spending – or raise taxes – to balance state budgets.

Those who want to decrease Medicare is at 12%, an increase from 6% a year ago but still pretty anemic.  We see a larger increase in those in favor of cuts to defense spending, 30% today, 18% a year ago.

Bottom line, the Republicans find themselves in a position where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t – between a rock and a hard place.

Cross posted at Newshoggers